SLA research and arizona’s structured english immersion policies

Michael H. Long, H. D. Adamson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


In 2000, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, amending the Arizona State Constitution to require that English language learners (ELLs) be taught only in English without using their native language and also that in most cases they be allowed to take English as a second language courses for only one year before being enrolled in all mainstream classes [Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 15 (Education), § 3.1 (English Language Education for Children in Public Schools), 751-756.01]. The rules for implementing this law, which are laid down by the Arizona Department of Education, have changed over the years, and continue to change. At first, individual school districts were given considerable freedom regarding how to teach ELL students during the one-year period before mainstreaming, as long as they did not use bilingual education, but beginning in the 2008–2009 school year, the Department has required all districts to abide by a set of uniform guidelines developed by the English Language Learners Task Force (Arizona Revised Statutes (2009). Title15-756.01). As described in Chapter 4 of this book, these guidelines mandate that ELLs receive four hours of ESL instruction per day at the elementary and secondary level. The Department of Education also mandates the teaching approach that will be used, which it calls ‘Structured English Immersion’ (SEI). This turns out to be traditional ESL instruction, using a structural syllabus to focus on grammar and vocabulary, without attention to the academic content for which students will be held responsible. We believe that this new program, with its use of a synthetic linguistic syllabus, its lack of instruction in content areas, and the lack of opportunity it provides for students to acquire the specialized varieties of English they need for study in academic contexts, conflicts sharply with what we know about how school-age ELL students learn second languages and academic subject matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationImplementing Educational Language Policy in Arizona
Subtitle of host publicationLegal, Historical and Current Practices in SEI
PublisherChannel View Publications
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781847697462
ISBN (Print)9781847697448
StatePublished - Apr 16 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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